I'm looking for a word that I can use to describe something that "breathes" (out) fire. If there is no such word, I can create it myself, much like Stephen King created Pyrokinesis.

Is there such a word?

To clarify: I am using the word as an adjective, and as part of a description in a document related to a novel I'm writing (sci-fi). So, for example:

Blablablabus Blabladens

Size: 2feet
Height: 1foot
Social Structure: antisocial
Notes: bla, bla bla.
Diet: bla.
Special Features: bla bla bla bla.
Pyrogenetic(?) Abilities: Breathes fire using blablabla organ.

See where I use Pyrogenetic? That's where I want to use the word. However, I'm not sure what word would be correct, and I don't want to use "Fire-breathing" if I don't have to.

After some deliberation and the highest voted answer so far:

I decided to create my own word(s): Ignigenesis/(Ignigenic).

  • 2
    Breathes in or breathes out? – Mitch Oct 28 '11 at 17:03
  • 5
    Firebreathing should work. – Daniel Oct 28 '11 at 17:14
  • 2
    Ignirespiration = Latin Fire breathing, but that's not a real word. – Daniel Oct 28 '11 at 17:26
  • 2
    It seems to me that you want fire spitting, not fire breathing. The creature produces fire, but does not use fire for respiration. – dotancohen Apr 29 '12 at 13:49
  • 1
    @dotancohen you can breathe something out without using it for respiration. For example we breathe out carbon dioxide but it's not something we use for respiration (in general our bodies don't take much in cause they are already saturated). So the animals in this case "breathe" fire out, and it's completely valid :) – RolandiXor Apr 30 '12 at 1:18

The only "real" adjective that describes something that breathes fire is fire-breathing. This isn't a common word, but then again, fire-breathing objects aren't all that common either.

If you want to make up a word, the Latin for fire-breathing is ignirespiratory. As FumbleFingers notes in a comment, pyrorespiration has been used before (9 results on Google), so you might want to give that a look. (It mixes Greek and Latin, but that's not too big an issue - look at television.)

Dictionary.com has an entry for the obsolete ignivomous, which means vomiting fire.

  • Thanks for the help :). I'm beginning to feel I have to create a word. – RolandiXor Oct 28 '11 at 17:31
  • How about joining igni- with expiration or exhalation somehow? – Hugo Oct 28 '11 at 17:39
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    I've created my own word :)! Ignogenesis (n) / Ignogenetic (adj): producing fire. – RolandiXor Oct 28 '11 at 17:39
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    @Hugo: Ignixhalation? – Daniel Oct 28 '11 at 17:41
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    Fire-breathing isn't really all that uncommon either. For instance, I've quite often heard mother-in-laws described that way. – T.E.D. Oct 28 '11 at 17:42

If you want the best possible word, I suggest that it not be a Greek-Latin hybrid, especially since there are so many correctly formed pure options that are perfectly fine.

There are igniferous, flammigerous, flammiferous, flammivomous, all actual English words, the first three roughly meaning "fire-bringing/causing/producing". The fourth ("flame-spewing") would be the most precise.

You could also name your category by a noun, like igni-/flammipotency, "power by fire" and replace the entire phrase Pyrogenetic(?) Abilities with it. Or you could use the adjective, igni-/flammipotent, "powerful by fire"; these words are based on actual Latin words with the same meaning but do not exist as English words (yet).

I'd generally prefer some compound with flamm-, because that has more connotations of active, flowing flames, as opposed to igni-, which is perhaps a slightly more static fire.

Based on Greek, you could use pyropneumatic ("breathing fire") which does not exist yet but would be correctly formed. The existing English word pyrogenetic ("capable of creating fire") is usually used for inflammable materials, but it would do well here too.

  • I like pyropneumatic a lot for some reason. – mskfisher Oct 28 '11 at 20:11

Oddly there isn't an everyday word for 'fire breathing dragon'!
In mythology I think 'drake' might be the closest.

  • @JasperLoy: it is also a word for Dragon :D – RolandiXor Oct 28 '11 at 17:38

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